One out of five people who had a job in February has filed for unemployment, as of April 30th according to a report by NPR. It’s estimated that 50% of Americans have either lost jobs or lost working hours as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Financial challenges are real for most people in our community.

Last year, University of Illinois Extension’s volunteer Money Mentors helped over 100 community members with their financial goals. This year more people are likely to seek help. You can help others by becoming a Money Mentor volunteer.

Money Mentor volunteers complete 30 hours of financial education and coaching training with University of Illinois Extension educators. Mentors are then matched with people who seek help with financial goals such as paying down debt, building spending plans, saving for dreams, and organizing their finances. For participants, being matched with a mentor is like having their own personal, financial coach to reach their goals.

Our next Money Mentor training begins May 28, 2020; weekly trainings are Thursdays, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Training sessions include online class discussions. Each week there is homework in the form of activities, readings, and online training. Assistance is available for anyone who is not familiar with Zoom meetings.  For more information, go to our website at

There is a $40 cost for training; partial scholarships are available. Currently, the Money Mentors program is available to residents in nine Illinois counties: Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, Vermilion, Livingston, McLean, Woodford, Kankakee, Will, and Grundy.

If you have questions regarding the Money Mentors, please contact Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, or (217) 333-7672.

Help from mentor volunteers is free and confidential. For more information, go to our website or call 217-333-7672.